Several top internet giants around the globe have leveraged their reach and influence to support the development of new products and services from parties that lack a robust platform to showcase their ideas. Microsoft is one of such companies, and within its wide array of products, the Redmond-based corporation conceptualized Imagine Cup back in 2003. In its 15 years of existence, the platform has engaged more than 2 million students in 190 countries
Generally speaking, Imagine Cup is a student-only technology platform that purposes to actualize its participants’ products and services. The competition, which is preceded by applications, starts on a local level (Kenya in this case) before qualifiers progress to the regional stage. A team that demonstrates the best software solution is announced at the final competition that includes additional participants from the rest of the world.
“The world is eager to address two powerful issues: education and jobs for the younger generation and technology. At Microsoft, we are focused on enabling every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. The Imagine Cup Competition is anchored on this mantra and we hope that through this initiative, we will empower more young people by enabling them to showcase what they have to offer to the world,” says Lilian Nganda, Communications Manager, Microsoft Sub-Sahara Africa. “Through the Imagine Cup, these issues can be addressed in a fun, positive and inspiring way for students to acquire new and critical technical, business, and team-building skills.”
Interested students have been submitting applications at imaginecup.com since October 2017. However, local submissions will be concluded on April 25 for an assessment process that will take place on April 26 and 27. Successful teams will represent the country in region-wide finals on May 23 before the last global competition on June 1.
Microsoft says it has received more than 3000 applications across Africa from institutions such as Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) (80), Kenyatta University and the University of Nairobi (UoN), among other institutions. It is worth noting that participants are not limited to universities as college-level teams are equally qualified, and no Kenyan product has ever reached the global stage.
Over the years, Microsoft has added new categories for the Imagine Cup Competition. This year’s categories include new fields such Artificial Intelligence (AI) that continues to see notable popularity Azure Intelligence tools, Big Data for analytics and Mixed Reality for bet use of Windows Mixed Reality services such as HoloLens, AR and VR.
Person(s) who will demonstrate the best use of the mentioned categories will have an opportunity to win $15,000 plus an Azure grant.
The global winner will win $100,000 (a jump from $50,000 from previous tournaments), a one-on-one mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and an Azure Grant.
Applications can be submitted here.